Friendly fire kills five police in Knyazhychi, Ukraine

Monday, December 5, 2016

Friendly fire between two groups of police officers killed five on Saturday night in Knyazhychi, Ukraine. File:Патрульний автомобіль київської поліції.jpg

File photo of police at work in Kiev.
Image: Commons:User:Nushtaev Dmitriy.
(Image missing from Commons: image; log)

Police had aimed to arrest suspects accused of robbery in Kiev and the surrounding area. A surveillance unit staking out a building placed two undercover officers in an empty, partially-constructed building next door. When an alarm in the empty building summoned regular police, the two undercover officers were mistaken for burglars and detained.

Surveillance officers saw their colleagues being loaded into a van and, evidently fearing the robbery gang was taking them hostage, attempted to rescue them by force. Shots were exchanged. The three nearby robbery suspects heard the gun battle and fled; they were arrested in Kiev. The trio were armed and face charges.

The dead are two undercover officers, two regular officers of the state security force, and one member of the special-forces surveillance unit. President Petro Poroshenko has been briefed by a senior police officer. Khatia Dekanoidze, ex-head of the nation's police, said it was a "heartbreaking tragedy".